Hogs Surprised By Speedy Hire

The Morning News/Razorback Central
Posted Dec 5, 2004

FAYETTEVILLE -- Players sounded surprised late Friday night when they learned Arkansas was close to hiring Reggie Herring as its new defensive coordinator.

Herring, who agreed to a three-year deal with the Razorbacks on Saturday morning, spent the past season as North Carolina State’s defensive coordinator and was the linebackers coach for the Houston Texans for two seasons prior to that.

The Razorbacks, who found out Wednesday that Dave Wommack was fired after four seasons as defensive coordinator, were for the most part impressed with how swiftly a replacement was named.

“I think it’s better that they went ahead and got it done,” said Sam Olajubutu, a starting linebacker the past two seasons. “The team, we really didn’t have a clue who was coming in and who we were going to be working with.

“So it’ll be better that we went ahead and got him early so we can get him in here and get the thing going.”

North Carolina State led the nation in total defense this year, allowing just 221.4 yards per game.

“He had the top defense in the nation, so you know that he knows what he’s doing,” said cornerback Darius Vinnett. “If you already have a guy in, we can get to know him and he can get to know us. So I think it’s better that they brought a guy in quick.”

Defensive end Jamaal Anderson, who’s hosting one of the seven prospects in town for official visits this weekend, looked at the bigger picture.

“That is a surprise that we got one so quick,” Anderson said. “This will definitely help out with the recruiting process, because it’s really starting to pick up.

“Plus, having the No. 1 defense in the country, that will help us out a lot right away.”

Others were a little more guarded and wanted to find out more about Herring. At this point, all the players really know is he’s from North Carolina State and he will be their new defensive coordinator.

Coaches hadn’t had a chance to meet with the players when the news broke.

“I’ve just got to wait and see what’s going on with him,” said free safety Randy Kelley, “you know, get to meet him and know him a little. And then (I’ll) give an opinion.

“But I trust the coaches to make a good decision.”

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